Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Shorter working hours do not guarantee happier workers

Date:
August 21, 2013
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
A reduction in working hours does not necessarily mean happier employees, as it might merely be adding stress to their general working environment. This is according to a study that looks at the impact of South Korea's recently introduced Five-Day Working Policy.

A reduction in working hours does not necessarily mean happier employees, as it might merely be adding stress to their general working environment. This is according to a study by Robert Rudolf of Korea University, Seoul, that looks at the impact of South Korea's recently introduced Five-Day Working Policy. The paper, published online in Springer's Journal of Happiness Studies, focuses on the overall individual and family happiness of married and co-residing couples living with children, and also assesses the impact of working hours on people's overall job and life satisfaction.

South Korea officially started to introduce its reformative working policy in 2004, in which Saturdays became official non-working days. It also reduced the official working week from 44 to 40 hours. The policy was instigated to enhance living standards, boost the country's weak leisure industry and to reduce the negative effects of excessively long working hours, including low productivity and high rates of industrial injury.

The natural experimental setting of South Korea's Five-Day Working Policy reform provides an unbiased look into how working hours influence the subjective well-being of workers. Rudolf's study is pioneering as it is the first of its kind to assess the impact of such an external reduction of working hours on the subjective well-being of individuals and families. His analysis is based on the detailed and nationally representative longitudinal survey of urban Korean households, the Korean Labor and Income Panel Study, conducted between 1998 and 2008.

Rudolf found that working wives and mothers are generally more pleased with the reformative measures than their male counterparts. This is because women face higher work-family role conflicts within the traditional Korean society, and thus suffer more from long overtime hours. Even though full-time workers, and women in particular, are generally thankful that their work week was cut by four hours on average, it has had no significant impact on their overall job and life satisfaction. This is because much of the positive spin-offs gained from fewer working hours are often offset by rising work intensity demands set by employers, while some firms tend to give less holiday time.

These findings show either that traditional theory is wrong to suggest that longer working hours alone have a negative impact on the personal happiness of employees, or it means that increased work intensity, because of cuts in official working hours, completely offsets any positive effects such a move might have. "If the latter holds true, it would be naοve to believe that work time reductions alone can increase worker well-being," warned Rudolf.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Robert Rudolf. Work Shorter, Be Happier? Longitudinal Evidence from the Korean Five-Day Working Policy. Journal of Happiness Studies, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s10902-013-9468-1

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Shorter working hours do not guarantee happier workers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130821124430.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2013, August 21). Shorter working hours do not guarantee happier workers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130821124430.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Shorter working hours do not guarantee happier workers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130821124430.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) — An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) — A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins